Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Friday means for Lea County football teams (and Seminole)

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
A Seminole player runs on the field against Andrews.
  In the second-to-last games for Hobbs and Lovington and the last game of the regular season for Eunice, Jal, Tatum and Seminole, there is plenty of meaning to tonight's football action.
  Hobbs: The Eagles need a win Friday at home against Clovis and next week against Carlsbad to claim their first outright district title since 1974 or their postseason chances are probably squashed. A loss will drop Hobbs to 2-7, and even if the Eagles beat Carlsbad the following week, it will be tough to put the Eagles in. Though if Hobbs doesn't get in if it loses to Clovis then beats Carlsbad, that would mean Carlsbad (which is a top 10 team in the state) can't get in because Hobbs would have finished above the Cavemen in the district standings and a team can't make the playoffs if a team above it in the district standings doesn't make it. Got that? It's going to be an uphill battle at Watson on Friday for Hobbs as Clovis is big, strong, fast and has defeated the Eagles 10 straight times.
  Lovington: A win tonight over Ruidoso and the Wildcats are district champs and likely get the top seed in the Class 3A playoffs. Like I said in my last blog, it's been amazing the way this team has changed its image from an offensive juggernaut to a defensive steel curtain in just a season. With Lovington's QB David Robles getting more comfortable, the Wildcats are just going to be tougher and tougher to beat as they improve offensively.
  Eunice: In the Cardinals' regular-season finale, Eunice faces a 1-8 Dexter squad and should complete its regular season a perfect 9-0 – the first time Eunice has gone undefeated through the regular season since 1958 (it went on to win the state title that season). The Cardinals are the opposite of Lovington as it was the offense that carried them early with the defense coming on late. A win tonight and Eunice will be the top seed in Class 2A. If the defense continues to play well, a blue trophy may be in the future for the Cardinals.
  Jal: Tonight's game at Fort Sumner is the perfect test for the Panthers in their regular-season finale. A win against the defending state champs and Jal will get a bye in the first round of the six-team Class 1A playoffs. But even if it loses, Jal needs to come out and prove it can play with Fort Sumner so if the two teams meet again in the playoffs, the Panthers will have the confidence that it deserves to be on the same field with the Class 1A powerhouse.
  Tatum: Like Jal, Tatum's game tonight against defending state champion Melrose is a perfect test for the Coyotes. A win and Tatum may move up to get a bye in the first round. If they lose, the Coyotes will still get in the playoffs but they want to compete with Melrose (who they beat in last season's regular-season finale) tonight so confidence isn't crushed.
  Seminole: The Indians when they hit the field tonight against Fort Stockton have a playoff spot and at least a tie for the district title wrapped up (and own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Andrews and Monahans – the two teams that can tie with Seminole). A win sends the Indians into the playoffs on a six-game winning streak and all the momentum in the world to make a deep run in Texas Class 3A.